With today’s average company using 137 unique software as a service (SaaS) apps, ensuring your internal applications, SaaS solutions, and all databases (whether on-prem or cloud-based) are efficient and effectively working together is business critical.
While you can’t always control where SaaS solutions are housed or where the data associated with those solutions lives, you can make strategic data center decisions to ensure reduced latency, the best overall network, availability, and lowest latency possible. Mike Miller, a Sidepath Solutions Consultant, dives into how to get the most out of your SaaS apps with smart colocation and cloud on ramp decisions.
“One of the challenges companies are looking to solve for today is better access to their very expensive SaaS applications and data repositories, which are often in the public cloud,” Miller said. “They spend millions of dollars on these softwares as a service and they need to know that those services are going to be available, and on, and have very fast response times to their data centers.”
The key, according to Miller, is adjacency. Many organizations are using public cloud solutions such as AWS, Google, or Microsoft to house at least some of their data. They’re also using popular SaaS and unified communication solutions such as Salesforce, Oracle Cloud, Ringcentral, Zoom, and many more. This approach inherently takes some network access and database location decisions out of a company’s direct control. The best way to set up for success is to understand what internal applications and databases will work better when housed adjacent to SaaS and other cloud solutions to improve network options and minimize latency.
Understanding Your Environment & Needs
When deciding on the best data center solution for your needs, it’s important to understand your environment and all contributing factors. Understand:
- What SaaS applications you’re using (and anticipate using in the near future)?
- What unified communications solutions you’re using and if that is likely to change soon?
- What other cloud based apps need to be considered?
- Where are the data centers that host each of these solutions located?
- Where are your data centers or colocation data centers located?
- Where is your team or end users located? (What are the locations from which people are accessing these apps?)
- How are users accessing the apps (i.e. via a public internet connection or a more secure network such as VPN or Zero Trust)?
- Is your network currently designed to allow for adjacency?
Understanding where data from internal applications and SaaS applications lives can help you determine if smarter use of colocation or strategic cloud on ramp solutions can improve overall functionality.
For many organizations, the best way to improve adjacency is by choosing a data center that is located near your SaaS data center if possible. As with all data center pricing considerations, individual needs impact the overall cost of colocation. Major factors that Miller specific highlights include:
- External network connectivity
- The types of equipment and services that will be housed in colo environment
- Professional services like remote hands
- Data center geography (different regions carry different cost implications)
When having the pricing discussion, it’s important to remember the end goal of this initiative — to improve the performance and usefulness of your existing SaaS solutions. Because of this specific end goal, organizations have less flexibility in choosing a data center location. However, the ultimate business impact is often worth its consideration.
Business Impact of Optimizing Your SaaS Apps
When you’ve designed your network with intention and enabled application and data adjacency wherever possible, the overall impact can be significant. Organizations that take this approach often see better use of their SaaS solutions, better public cloud use, and a better end user experience. Embracing colocation solutions to promote adjacency also often provides better connectivity options for other carriers, internet providers, etc. that also contribute to lower latency and ultimately a better user experience.
Looking at your app and data environment holistically often uncovers areas for improvement. It’s important to take the time to assess these opportunities to make sure you’re getting the most out of your environment and solutions (especially SaaS solutions) and providing your end users with the best experience possible.